Spitz, who teaches arts-related interdisciplinary seminars at the University of Maryland, is a passionate advocate for the aesthetic imaginations of young children. She wants adults to tune in to their toddlers' ways of seeing, and by responding to what they're experiencing, find ways to extend the experience. If a toddler looks at his mashed potatoes and says, "Tuh-tuh," Spitz says, Mom should observe those potatoes from the child's point of view and respond with "turtle." Mothers might attend special music classes with their little ones; whole families might get together to stage home productions of operas that the toddler's going to be attending. Spitz's own rather imaginative view of contemporary child-rearing may strike some as a throwback, with nuclear families collaborating on homemade birthday parties complete with puppet shows. Her text, which reads like a collected lecture series, is sprinkled with obvious suggestions (parents should visit preschools and meet teachers before enrolling children) and concludes with a set of scenarios imagining different careers for one's "little fellow"-musician, mathematician, scientist-each usefully enriched by an imaginative childhood. Even if parents want "aesthetic rather than anesthetic children," Spitz's program seems rather ethereal. (Feb. 21) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Imagination is one of the qualities that often endears children to adults. This work by artist and scholar Spitz (visual arts, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore; Inside Picture Books) provides an explanation of how that quality exists in relation to children's grasp of "reality" and how it affects their view of the world, including their aesthetic awareness. Beginning with an appreciation of the value of imagination, Spitz examines issues of intergenerational understanding and encourages gratitude for an imaginative "aesthetic rather than anesthetic" approach toward art and life. Although her book is primarily geared toward parents, it is written in a dense, academic tone that renders it all but inaccessible to average readers; a less scholarly approach might have done more to achieve the author's stated goals. Still, this book would make a worthwhile addition to larger child development and arts collections.-Kay Hogan Smith, UAB Lister Hill Lib., Birmingham, AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
An enthralling guide to life-enhancing parenting.” —E. D. Hirsch, author of Cultural Literacy “This is the tome I would want to carry to the mountaintop, for it shouts all my deepest passions: it is all about sparking the aesthetic imagination of the young child, through careful attention to the quiet and the beautiful all around.” —Barbara Mahany, Chicago Tribune“An eloquent celebration of the power of children's imagination when they are encouraged to discover the world of nature and the arts at their own pace. . . . The best possible advice for parents who want to raise a self-confident, creative child.” —Judith Wallerstein, author of What About the Kids? Raising Children Before, During and After Divorce“This book will touch your soul, stir up joyous memories of your own childhood, and turn you into a child's best partner in adventure and discovery of the world.” —Dr. Alla Efimova, Chief Curator, The Magnes Museum